SWITZERLAND, AUGUST 19 – Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has been removed from office in a Coup, despite the mediating efforts of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan, who is the envoy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to Mali.
ECOWAS has already suspended the West-African nation and pledged a range of retaliatory actions, including financial sanctions, over this latest development.
Today’s Echo gathers that Keita resigned late on Tuesday, hours after mutinying soldiers seized him from his home following months of mass protests against alleged corruption and worsening security in the country.
The Nigerian president had been at the forefront of peace moves, regularly sending his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan to the fragile West African nation in an attempt to reach an agreement between president Keita and the opposition. Buhari was promoting a government of national unity that will include both parties.
He had appealed to government and people of Mali to consider recommendations of ECOWAS Special Envoy, former President Goodluck Jonathan and his team, in resolving the political crisis, saying a government of national unity will provide inclusivity and ensure peaceful co-existence.
At the height of the crisis in Mali, Buhari flew from Nigeria to the Malian capital, Bamako, to attempt a peace deal, despite growing violence across different regions in Nigeria.
Buhari’s efforts failed Tuesday night, when Mali’s president and prime minister were detained by mutinying soldiers.
Speaking on national broadcaster ORTM around midnight, a distressed Keita said his resignation – three years before his final term was due to end – was effective immediately. He also declared the dissolution of his government and the National Assembly.
“If today, certain elements of our armed forces want this to end through their intervention, do I really have a choice?” Keita said in a brief address from a military base in Kati outside the capital Bamako where he had been detained earlier in the day.
“I wish no blood to be shed to keep me in power,” he said. “I have decided to step down from office.”
It was not immediately clear who was leading the revolt, who would govern in Keita’s absence or what the mutineers wanted.
Images posted earlier on social media said to be taken at the Kati garrison showed Keita and his Prime Minister Boubou Cisse surrounded by armed soldiers.